Anyone wanting or expecting a light and frothy summertime romp about a doll’s adventures in doll-land better run in the other direction. Co-writer and director Greta Gerwig has instead given us Barbie (Margot Robbie) coping with a deep existential crisis as Ken (a brilliant, scene-stealing Ryan Gosling) becomes the poster child for misogyny. (It’s PG-13 for a reason.) Throughout, we also get non-stop messages about positive body image, female empowerment, and the evils of consumerism. The only issue is there’s so much preaching that it’s hard to just sit back and enjoy the creative and campy world Gerwig has created; instead of simply steering us in the right direction, she feels compelled to strap us in with no choice of doing anything but hearing her (albeit very worthwhile) messages loud and clear for almost two solid hours.

3.5/5 stars